“That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and changing, is the first mark of existence.” Pema Chodron
Impermanence. My spirits rose higher than a soaring kite and now have calmed to the rhythm of a gently lapping wave. A friend who used to greet me brightly has faded from my life like vapor in a foggy night. A woman waits at a hospital, checking the status box “married.” Two days later she leaves alone with “widow” stamped on her form. My cat, Aslan, was here purring on my chest and now he’s not. Impermanence. How do we acknowledge that all is fleeting and changing? Do we rage against it and demand it isn’t so? Or embrace it with understanding and awareness? Perhaps we simply hope it will drift away like the cat, quietly seeking another place to rest.
Imagine practicing impermanence. Witnessing life in fleeting moments. Loving what is now. Wanting what we get. All these choices build our character and establish the timbre of our lives. Nature teaches us that we cannot catch the wind or hold a ray of sunshine in our hand. One minute the sky is clear and the next clouds have rolled in. Hollywood reminds us, too. Demi Moore reigned on the screen with her beauty and strength. Now she resides in rehab filled with fear and self-doubt. Whitney Houston, the former queen of pop, died in a hotel room the night before the Grammy awards. Life flourishes and then it doesn’t. Reminders all.
My pen will eventually run out of ink. My own lungs will ultimately cease to draw air. What does all this mean today? With what am I left? Now. Only now. In this moment I can feel the air cycling through my body. I hear the scratch of the pen across this page. The light fixture next to me buzzes. Outside a child chatters with her father and waits for the bus. The bus arrives and they all depart. A new sound hastens to fill the space. My lungs draw another breath. My hand scratches out a few more words. A truck’s roar enters the near silence... and fades away.
Impermanence. Perhaps it is the only permanent thing in life.
I’ll be pondering this today. Care to join me?